Random thoughts on Titans-Bengals and game balls
I liked the different looks Tennessee's defense showed the Bengals on the first series.
Chris Johnson is a serious weapon. Two yards, three yards a pop, then he breaks a long one.
Bo Scaife missed a block on Antwan Odom, resulting in Kerry Collins being stripped. What's wrong with that picture? Scaife scrimmaged against Odom for three years and knows what he's capable of. How can he let that happen?
Justin Gage dropped one right in his hands, which would have been a nice long gain. He later atoned somewhat for his previous sin with a TD.
Rob Bironas kicked off twice like Jack Nicklaus driving a one-iron under a stiff wind. We shouldn't have any worries about his preseason groin injury.
It was perhaps the strongest wind I've ever seen on a football field. Did you see the goalposts swaying in the wind? Bironas and the Bengals' kicker Graham both had field goal attempts really pushed sideways by the wind. Bironas' barely got through the uprights but Graham's took a sharp turn before clanking off the right post.
Maybe the Titans should have kept Jeremy Cain and let Ken Amato go. One bad snap will flip the field. Two bad snaps can lose a game. Amato made a third bad snap, this time on a field goal attempt. Good job by Craig Hentrich handling it and getting it up for Bironas to convert. Note: In a postgame interview, Hentrich gave Amato props for doing a good job snapping in the strong wind conditions. Funny, I didn't notice the Bengals' snapper have any problems.
That reminds me of something Bear Bryant said. Three fifteen-yard penalties in a game will beat you. If it's a close game, two of them will beat you. And if the game is real close, one will beat you.
The kick coverage sucked again this week. If Alan Lowry doesn't get it fixed, it will bite the Titans in the butt and cost them a game this year.
Ryan Fowler was active, making some big plays. Probably the best game I've seen from him yet.
One helluva play by Keith Bulluck that put a nail in the Bengals' coffin. Did you notice that the Titans' first-string defense was on the field for that fourth-down punt?
I'm not sure about this, but to my recollection the last time the Titans scored on a blocked punt was against the Ratbirds three years ago. If I remember right, it was Rob Reynolds who blocked a Ratbird punt in their end zone for a safety.
Which was the Bungles' worst problem? The wind or being booed by their own fans? The stadium appeared to be nearly empty in the fourth quarter and I don't think it was due to the weather.
The o-line was not impressive early. They did a better job as the game progressed.
Two questions were answered today. Leroy Harris, and not Eugene Amano, replaced Kevin Mawae when he was injured. Vince Fuller moved to free safety when Michael Griffin went out, with Eric King replacing Fuller at nickel. It gives us a pretty good glimpse of how the pecking order now stands at a few positions.
Kudos to Cortland Finnegan. Last year, Chad Ocho Cinco (then Johnson) scored three times against the Titans. On Sunday, Finnegan had a pick and held #85 to four catches for only 37 yards.
Kerry Collins did a pretty good job, especially considering the wind. That wasn't entirely unexpected, since Collins spent five years with the Giants, playing in the swirling winds at the Meadowlands. His rating for the game was 98.9, a lot better than Carson Palmer's 41.3 rating.
Besides handling the erratic snaps, Craig Hentrich had a fantastic punt which flipped the field.
How did Kyle Vanden Bosch rush the passer, then hustle 40 yards downfield to make a touchdown-saving tackle on a receiver? The guy continues to make plays that amaze me.
Total Titans is going to award game balls after each Titans' victory. Our picks for this week are:
Offense -- Chris Johnson, who had 109 yards rushing. Honorable mention to Kerry Collins.
Defense -- We couldn't reach a consensus on this, as there were so many deserving candidates. Cortland Finnegan, Chris Hope and Kyle Vanden Bosch received a vote apiece.
Special teams -- Craig Hentrich, with honorable mention to Keith Bulluck.